On June 1, 2011, a juvenile detainee filed a class action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi against Hinds County, Mississippi. The plaintiff, represented by attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center, alleged that the county's confinement policies and ...
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On June 1, 2011, a juvenile detainee filed a class action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi against Hinds County, Mississippi. The plaintiff, represented by attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center, alleged that the county's confinement policies and practices violated 42 U.S.C 1983. Specifically, plaintiff alleged excessive confinement in cells, inadequate mental health care, verbal abuse, and inadequate rehabilitation efforts. Plaintiff sought injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and damages.
Within the same week of filing, the complaint was amended to include two plaintiffs and additional causes of action under the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act of 1986, the Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights Program, and of the Protection and Advocacy Developmental Disabilities Program (together, these are the Protection and Advocacy statutes).
On July 25, 2011, the Court (Judge Daniel P. Jordan) granted a preliminary injunction, making previous state court orders that limited plaintiffs' access to youth in the Henly-Young Juvenile Center unenforceable because of the Protection and Advocacy (P & A) statutes mentioned above. The Court ordered the parties to agree on and submit a draft for a preliminary injunction. The next month, the court signed an injunction giving the plaintiffs much greater access to the Henly-Young Juvenile Center and its residents.
On March 28, 2012, the Court entered an agreed settlement order, which lasted two years. The settlement agreement required Henly-Young Juvenile Center to change its intake procedures to include health screening and provide greater access to medication; to improve staffing and lower crowding; to allow youth more time out of their cells and provide educational and rehabilitative programming; to make punishment/discipline less severe; to provide for better hygiene, food and clothing; to allow more visitation with family and implement policies preventing verbal abuse by staff and suicide by youth; and to allow for continued access to the center by the plaintiffs.
In February of 2014, the plaintiffs moved the court to extend the agreement and require defendants to pay attorney fees to the plaintiffs for not complying with the settlement agreement. On April 25, 2014, the Court extended the agreement because the defendants had not substantially complied with the agreement. It also found that because the agreement was a consent decree, and not a private agreement between the parties, it could hold the defendants in contempt of the court and require them to pay attorney's fees to the plaintiffs. However, the Court decided that it would hold defendants in contempt, but not require them to pay attorney fees on that date. The defendants were given until March 28, 2016, to comply, and the plaintiffs were able to file another motion for the fees if the defendants do not comply in the future.Maurice Youkanna - 06/12/2014